From July 2010 to December 2013, the two years following Mark’s stroke and brain surgery, he struggled to regain lost cognitive and physical ground. The hemorrhage occurred in the back of the right hemisphere of the cerebral cortex in an area of the brain that supports eyesight. During the stroke he lost more than half of his field of vision. On the day we figured out that something momentous had occurred and I rushed him to the hospital, he cocked his head to his left side, like a bird, to see the doctor and nurses. We caught the stroke too late so some of the vision loss became permanent. The change in his vision disturbed him most at night when the house turned foreign. Every little object on the floor or crease in a rug transformed into a confusing and dangerous obstacle. Continue reading The year of the fox by Patricia Karamesines
After a slow start to Wilderness Interface Zone’s Love of Nature Nature of Love Month, we’re opening our LONNOL haiku chain. It’s our hope that readers will join in this winter and post-Valentine’s Day celebration of the logic of the heart harnessed with images of nature’s splendors and subtleties.
A haiku is a classical Japanese poetical form, usually 17 syllables all in a single line in Japanese, but there are longer and shorter forms. In English, haiku often take the form of one short line of 5 syllables, a long line of 7 syllables, and a short line of 5 syllables, but there are many ways–all versions are welcome here.
There’s no deadline for this activity and the only requirement is that you focus your feeling in a nature-oriented haiku. You can link your haiku to an image in a preceding one or simply forge a link out of new images altogether. The chain runs as long as participants carry it along.
Traditionally considered a mindfulness practice, writing haiku brings perception and language together in a splash of imagery and aperçu. Can you distill you deepest feelings and sheerest insights to 17 syllables? Give it a go.
Here is my opening LONNOL haiku:
From plot twists in sea,
shore, savanna, city, this
departure, this love.
The world is in chaos, but Tom Turner is frying two eggs and a side of bacon. His wife, Mattie, sits at the kitchen table eating cold cereal and watching the news on her tablet. Revolutions are whittling away at South America. Europe is on the brink of collapse. China is squeezing the U.S. dry. In Salt Lake City, crime rates have tripled in six months. As Tom spatulas his eggs onto a plate, he overhears a report on the killing of Peep Stone, a local superhero. Six bullets to the chest. Police have no leads.
“Poor Peep,” Tom says. He takes a seat next to his wife and silently blesses his food.
“Did you know him?” Mattie asks when he raises his head. Continue reading The Curelom by Scott Hales
Polar fleece. One of the best. Inventions. Ever.
My admiration for this virtuous fabric prompted me to do a bit of research on it. On Wikipedia, I came across this: “Aaron Feuerstein [inventor] intentionally declined to patent polar fleece, allowing the material to be produced cheaply and widely by many vendors, leading to the material’s quick and wide acceptance.”
What a lovely man for doing this for us.
Until recently, my polar fleece jacket has been out of commission, in need of repair. I’ve been wearing an uncomfortable coat—the shell, actually, from my husband’s coat—made of polyester. The coat is much bigger, heavier, and longer than my fleece jacket but nowhere near as warm. Continue reading Field Notes #13 : Spider in the hand of a goodly snow
Glancing at Belle, I can tell she needs water, and soon. I lead her away from the beaver ponds before she’s tempted beyond her ability to resist to drink from its giardia-laced teapots. I hurry her to the shade of a big juniper, another of my stops, and sit down in the dirt beneath a broken branch that hangs across the trail. Obviously, Belle needs more water than I can provide by cupping my hand. I relent and pour her a drink in the canteen lid. She laps four or five lids full then lies down in the shade without my prompting, her shoulder pressing against my knee. She pants rapidly but seems to have gotten enough to drink, refusing another offered lid.
Looking around inside the juniper’s shadow, I notice a single penstemon blossom, looking like a wind sock on a pole, glowing red against the litter. Its color leaps to the eye from a backdrop of live blue-green and dead brown juniper stubble; last year’s curled, tawny oak leaves; green wisps of grass growing in a clump; spider webs clouded with dirt and other debris; and round, purplish-blue juniper berries dropped into grey-toned soil speckled with blacker grains, probably of decayed organic material. From somewhere up-canyon, a canyon wren’s laugh pipes its downward-falling scale. Continue reading Field Notes #12: Who Has Seen the Wind? (Pt.3) by Patricia Karamesines
The orchard offered fruit,
And I did eat.
The field imparted grain,
And I did graze.
The farm gave up the calf,
And I consumed.
Her mother furnished milk
To quench my thirst.
The market tendered goods
Both fair and fine,
To tempt my tongue
And fill my eyes and ears
With vague desires.
The bending world laid bait,
And I did eat.
Jonathon has taught literature on two continents, and has read, written, and conversed about it on three. He has published poetry, fiction, and reviews in Dialogue, Sunstone, Victorian Violet Press, Gangway Magazine, Mormon Artist, Mormon Midrashim, Mormon Review, Switchback, and WIZ, and was anthologized in Tyler Chadwick’s (Ed.) Fire in the Pasture.
Illustrating painting: Pieter Cornelisz van Rijck (1558?1628), Still Life with Two Figures (1622). Oil on canvas (123.8 cm × 148.6 cm).
The lavender sky turns. Soundless.
Its silvered breath falls,
sliding slowly over veined silk.
The tiny bud ruptures. Bending
backwards (in time) it beads
the ground with miniscule reflections,
iridescent images bursting the same ideal:
a perfect mirror of every dawn’s bloom.
A.J. Huffman is a poet and freelance writer in Daytona Beach, Florida. She has previously published six collections of poetry all available on Amazon.com. She has also published her work in numerous national and international literary journals. Most recently, she has accepted the position as editor for four online poetry journals published by Kind of a Hurricane Press. You can read more about A.J. Huffman, including additional information and links to her work. Huffman has published with WIZ previously.
Photo by Audrey of Central Pennsylvania via Wikimedia Commons.
This is a rewrite of an earlier post published here on WIZ.
One dark night in January of 2010 Mark and I made a last minute run to the only grocery store within 22 miles. On our return trip home, I drove with the SUVâ€™s highbeams on, because we live on a rural road where, even in winter, weâ€™re likely to come across a wide variety of animals on the pavement, anything from cats, rabbits, deer, mice, coyotes, and foxes to neighborsâ€™ loose horses and cattle. In spring and summer, the variety of animal-on-road is even wider.
As we arced along a curve, the vehicleâ€™s lights splashed against something moving on the road. A small cottontail had emerged from cover, probably looking for something to eat at the roadâ€™s edges where the unusually heavy and long-lingering snow had melted back from the asphaltâ€™s edges.
â€œA bunny,â€ I said. The rabbit hopped straight for us and I slowed down. As the vehicle edged to a stop, we saw another flash in the headlights, high up in the air to our right. A great horned owl dropped out of the darkness into the swath of our headlights, swinging its talons out toward the rabbit, working its wings to correct its aim.
â€œWhoa!â€ we both said, surprised by the sudden drama. The cottontail feinted right, seemingly away from the owl but still heading toward the car. The owl hesitated midair, quite possibly blinded by our headlights, then tumbled to the ground a good two feet off its away-running target. For a moment, the bird sat on the roadside, staring after the rabbit. It looked like it was considering giving chase but, glancing at us, seemed to decide the risk wasnâ€™t worth it. The opportunity had passed. With another flash of wings, the big bird lifted away into the darkness above the highbeams. Continue reading The happen stance by Patricia Karamesines
Space exhaled a puff of air.
Caught in its stream
pathless terrene thought it well
to cleave a fresh path
form a new road
unzip the miles-thin protective layer.
Aeriform meteoric hand punched through.
Glass jugs exploded in a cosmic grand plie
crystalline light show
celestial chaff in its random wind.
Chimes clinking in twenty-part dissonance.
Cataclysm in its whimsical wake until
the bagmen scavenge bits to sell on eBay.
He rides in and then canters out. Oftentimes, head bowed by reality; other times, proud to have said something noteworthy. Retired after forty-two years as teacher/school administrator, Sy Roth now resides in Mount Sinai, far from Moses and the tablets. This has led him to find solace in words.Â He spends his time writing and playing his guitar. He has published in many online publications such as Red Ochre, Bong is Bard, Danse Macabre, Mel BrakE Press, Larks Fiction Magazine, Exercise Bowler, Otoliths, BlogNostics, Every Day Poets, en brief. One of his poems, â€œForsaken Manâ€, was selected for Best of 2012 poems in Storm Cycle.Â Sy was also selected Poet of the Month in Poetry Super Highway, September 2012.Â His work was also read at Palimpsest Poetry Festival in December 2012. He was named Poet of the Month for the month of February in BlogNostics. His work was also included in Poised in Flight anthology published by Kind of Hurricane Press, March 2013.
This is a rewrite of a post published here on WIZ that I’m including in my book Crossfire Canyon. I’m posting the rewrite today in response to finding a bounty-killed coyote on this morning’s walk.
April 8, 2009. As I walked out of a nearby canyon last week along a trail where I had previously encountered a curious coyote, my nose detected gases given off by putrefaction. Somewhere nearby, bacteria were at work breaking down formerly living tissue to simpler matter, dispersing an organism’s worldly good to its biological heritors.
To this we must all come. But who has come to it now, and where?
Walking deeper into the field of decomposition gases, I searched the ground, guessing what I would find. I was approaching the gravel pit, a dumping ground for domestic and wild animal carcasses and the scene of occasional war crimes of the sort some people commit against animals. It’s common to find coyote remains around the pit, along with elk and deer carcasses, tree prunings, the ashes of bonfires, articles of clothing, and aerosol cans–the residue of “huffing” parties.
My eyes had difficulty picking out the body of the coyote because his full winter regalia of desert-soils-hued fur blended in well where he had been dumped against the weathered juniper barricade a rancher erected decades ago to prevent cattle from wandering. I’m guessing the coyote was an adult male because of the animal’s size. Wind ruffled the luxuriant fur, and my own hand felt drawn to touch. But I didn’t. Touching the coyote might spark a response that under the circumstances I wasn’t prepared to support. Continue reading Degrees of Coyoteness by Patricia Karamesines